Old School, Real Cool A review of the Arc Customizable Notebook System

I recently began a journey to free myself of TTD (Total Technology Dependence).  It began after some frustrating episodes with my phone, iPad, and laptops (Details are too ugly to divulge here, but I know you all have had similar experiences.).  I needed to come up with an easily accessible system that was structured enough to keep me organized, yet flexible enough to go with the ebb and flow of my hectic daily schedule.

Arc Customizable Notebook System, where have you been all my life?!?!

After reading about this system online (where else?), I decided to give it a try.  It was a paradigm shift, going from digital to pen / paper, but I needed to “”change it up” to keep my sanity.  I love technology and the plethora of tools it offers me, but  it was time to try something fresh.  The Arc notebook was just what the doctor ordered.

Staples’ website guided me through the process of creating my notebook.  First, select the notebook, then select the refill paper and accessories. The notebooks come in two sizes:   6-¾” X  8-¾” &  9-⅜” X  11-¼”.  I decided ahead of time that I would go with the bigger size as I would be using it for work and home.  However, that’s as  far as my rational mind traveled.  Standing in front of the Arc display in Staples caused decision paralysis.  I was extremely overwhelmed with the many products and the many combinations one can make with the aforementioned many products. There were so many ways to create the “ideal” system.  I think my son aged 2 1/2 years as I stood there pondering the rest of my purchase.

Both sizes of the notebook come in leather or a plastic / poly surface, and have many different colors and patterns for the cover.  I chose a clear poly binder that allows me to create my own cover by offering different patterns to put behind it.  Good choice to squelch my indecisiveness.

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Next, I had to select the refill paper.  Luckily, the binder comes with 60 lined sheets, but I didn’t stop there.  I picked up some project planner paper.  Pinterest also has some nice printables designed for Arc.  Just print them out and use the Arc hole punch available for “Non Arc” paper.  (It’s a little pricey, but may be worth it if you use this system.)

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Next, the accessories.  I could have spent a lot of money here, but I showed restraint (son’s patience was getting thin).  I opted not to get dividers and use my extra “covers” to split up my paper.  However, I did get a pencil case, pocket folders, task pads, and a thick rubber band to keep the notebook closed when not in use.  I predict I will buy more accessories in the near future.

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The day’s purchase.

 Assembling the system was a great deal of fun (especially since son was home and happy). Its foundation is a set of discs on which the paper and accessories are hooked.  This is where the flexibility comes in.  I easily moved, removed, and rearranged the paper, dividers, pockets, and pencil case by gently “peeling” them off the discs.  Once I decided where I wanted everything, I just pushed them back onto the discs.  I can keep doing this until everything is arranged to my liking (2020 AD?).

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This is the final product (for now).  I have sections for work, home, writing, studio, hobbies, and business.  It holds everything I need on a daily basis.

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So far, I’m finding this notebook to be convenient and pretty.  Writing in it creates quality processing time, giving me moments to think as I put pen to paper .  This “Old School” tool may be what I need to stay organized.  It may also be the only thing that stops me from throwing my laptop out of a fourth story window.

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